Glory about thee, without thee; and thou fulfillest thy doom,
making Him broken gleams and a stifled splendor and gloom.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
What happens to the believer who goes back home? Forget the poet who said ‘You can never go home again’, you can, but it isn’t the same. Jesus said, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house’ (Matthew 13:57) when He was confronted with the unbelief among those who had grown up with Him.
But that’s not the problem; the problem comes when a Christian heeds familial unbelief. When the prophet ‘fulfills his doom’ (that’s from the seed).
Think of the glory of Christ, the awesome power reserves the Holy Spirit controls. Amazingly, we can stifle them; we can quench the fire and the power. How? By making God’s glory a weak thing.
The Sermon on the Mount says many things. It begins with the beatitudes, moves into salt and light, it covers a multitude of subjects. But, it’s the light that’s important to consider here.
On a dark night, how far away can a single, small candle flame be seen? A mile…two? Try somewhere between two and five miles depending on elevation and atmosphere. A small light, untrammeled, can be seen for miles. How far can the glory of God be seen?
If it is reflected clearly in us, for eternity; if in some way we have made Him ‘a stifled splendor and gloom’ not very far. As a matter of fact, when we shade the light with our sin, shame, weakness, etc. it can’t be seen at all.
While it is true the Spirit cannot work when His call is refused, it is the worker, worthy of his hire (I Timothy 5:18), that perks up the ears. The Spirit works through us and if we let familiarity, weakness, missed opportunity or any excuse hide the light reflected through us, we are guilty of a grievous sin.
Jesus still worked miracles (Mark 6:5) though they were diminished by the unbelief of His people. To me, this means that even when we are among unbelieving hoards who know us too well to believe us, we can still work for God. Though the work is diminished, it should not be diminished by us.